Flight secrets: Why do pilots say ‘roger that’ on planes? Who was roger? | Travel News | Travel

Pilots and cabin crew communicate with each other using a host of code words.

One of the oldest and best known is “roger that” – but why do airline staff say this phrase?

Ground staff and pilots need to be able to speak to each other, but during the first flights, there was no such thing as radio communication.

During the Wright brothers first flight in 1903, flares, hand signals and coloured paddles were used to communicate while the flight was in the air, accord to Wonderful Engineering.

But as technology advanced, pilots began to use morse code to communicate. Finally in 1915, air-to-ground voice transmission became possible.

Morse code would still be used, so confirm a message had been received, pilots would signal the letter “R”.

When the switch to radio came about, pilots continued using the letter “R”, but started to use the word “roger” to mean received.

This word was chosen as not all pilots speak English, so it was decided by the International Telegraph Union in 1927 that “roger” would be an easier command than “received”.

Pilots also used the word during World War II, further confirming its place in history books as strongly associated with flying.

The phonetic alphabet now uses “romeo” instead of “roger”, but the latter word continues to be used by pilots.

The phrases used by pilots are not the only element of flying travellers may be curious about.

There are letters on every boarding pass, but do you know what they mean?

A boarding pass continues obvious information, such as the name, flight number and boarding gate of the traveller.

But did you know that some secret codes might mean you’re eligible for a seat upgrade?

There is also a code which holds information about your meal references and whether you have any special requests.

Another number will determine at what point you will be invited to board the aircraft.


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